home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


July 16, 2008

Trevor Immelman


MALCOLM BOOTH: Ladies and gentlemen, let's make a start. We've got Masters champion Trevor Immelman with us. Thanks for joining us. When Mark O'Meara came here as Masters champion in 1998 he went on to claim the championship here, as well. Does that give you inspiration this week.
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, it's definitely inspiration. But that's going to be a pretty tall order. I think Mark was a seriously accomplished player by that point, had spent many years on Tour, and he had also had a pretty good record around this golf course. So it was obviously a course he liked and was looking forward to coming to.
But I'll be giving it my best shot, there's no doubt about that.

Q. You're 70 to 1 with the book makers this morning only three months after winning The Masters. What would you say to somebody who was thinking of putting a bet on you?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, I would say, put as much money as you want but don't call me if I don't win (laughing). You know, I've never really paid too much attention to the book makers from the aspect that I've never really bet on sport. So you know, I've never really understood, or tried to understand, the ins and outs of all of that.
But this is going to be a tough championship. Obviously the media tent is about to blow away, so it's not going to be easy out there, and the golf course is pretty demanding. Whoever plays well here is going to have to bring their best stuff, there's no doubt about that.

Q. You say Mark O'Meara, he's a very seriously accomplished player, but how accomplished do you think you are when it comes to playing on links?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, I've had my fair share of experience. I would say that, you know, since coming over and playing the British amateur, that kind of was the first time I got to experience it and really learn about it. And then playing the Old Course a few times, and then playing in tournaments on the European Tour like the Dunhill Links, I mean, that serves the European Tour very well, to be able to give the guys experience on playing links golf in October when the conditions can be pretty miserable.
You know, I would say I have a decent amount of experience on links. I just think from Mark O'Meara's perspective, he had probably been on Tour 16 or 17 years at that time and at the top of the game for probably 12 or 13 of those years. He was a very experienced golfer with a lot of knowledge on his side, and you know, this is probably only my sixth or seventh Open. He probably had a lot more experience to draw on coming into the tournament than what I do.

Q. I believe that before you won The Masters you had a chat with Nick Faldo about what it takes to win at Augusta. Have you sought any advice as to what it takes to win an Open Championship?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, I've had lots of opportunities to speak to Nick and pick his brain. I was quite fortunate that back in 2004 we played a lot of practise rounds together. It was kind of towards the end of his playing schedule here in Europe, and he was at that point still playing quite regularly, and so every time he played, I would try and hook up with him for a practise round. I got to learn a lot from him through that.
You know, the thing about the Open that he always said was that you really have to be disciplined to hit to certain spots and not always to attack because a lot of times when conditions are this trying, you really need to be patient because a lot of times these sort of conditions are going to take most of the field out of it, so you really just need to try and hang in there.
But yeah, I mean, I learnt a lot of different things from him. I was fortunate to have that opportunity.

Q. Having won The Masters on what is now such a demanding course, do you arrive for majors hoping that conditions will be as hard as they can possibly be?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: That's a good question. You know, it's interesting as a golfer because you want it to be tough because that's going to sort the best from the best, if you know what I mean. But you know, also a lot of times the courses get set up so difficult anyway that once the conditions get tougher on top of that, sometimes it can push it right to the limit. So there's a fine line there.
But you know, every golfer here this week has always dreamt of trying to win a major championship, so everybody here has tried to be as prepared as they can for this examination that we're about to go through. Once you get here, you can't really waste too much time or energy concerning yourself about the setup, you've really just got to go to work and try to stay focused.
You know, it is what it is. I don't think you can really concern yourself about how the course is going to play. You've just got to go out there and do your best. I don't go to the tournaments hoping it's going to be playing a certain way. You know, I just try and do my homework and then try and perform as well as I can.

Q. How demanding is it, though, at the moment with the wind?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, I mean, this is all you would want (laughter). In my opinion this is the toughest golf course I've played on the Open rotor. It's very demanding off the tee, and part of the reason is because a lot of the tee shots are partially blind tee shots, you can only kind of see a sliver of fairway.
And then the other thing is that there's not really much intermediate rough. You kind of go from fairways right into the thick stuff. You're really going to have to drive the ball well here, and what makes that tricky is the fact that there's a lot of crosswinds out there. The holes dogleg into these crosswinds so you're going to have to pay some special attention to that.
This is going to be a great test this week, especially with some of the weather that's been forecast. The guy who wins this tournament on Sunday is going to be very deserving of it.

Q. Can you talk about how your golf has been since you won The Masters?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, it's been a little bit of an up-and-down kind of roller coaster, which sort of fits in part with my life (laughing). But it's been a very interesting time. I've learnt a lot about myself and I've learnt a lot about the game. You know, obviously for about six or seven weeks after Augusta I was in a space to where I was trying to understand and deal with what I had just achieved. You know, maybe I was thinking about it too much, but I guess that's just the way I am. I was trying to figure out what I had just done and trying to digest the fact that I had just reached a lifelong dream. So it took me a little time to come to grips with that and also then to assess what I would like to do from there.
So it was a very interesting time for me, so I wouldn't say that my game was really my top priority at that point. Consequently I found myself not playing as well as I would have liked, but after I started figuring a few things out, I had a couple good weeks in the States. I lost in a playoff about three or four weeks ago. So my game has started to come back. I've been putting a lot of work into it. My game feels pretty good coming into this week, so hopefully I can keep that going through today and through the early rounds of the tournament and get myself in with a chance on the weekend. You know, that's always when I've found myself most comfortable is on the weekend when I have a chance to do well.

Q. Would you say having won The Masters it's actually removed some of the pressure to do well in major championships or has added to the pressure because now you feel you've proved to yourself you can do it and you really want to go on and do it again?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: That's an interesting scenario because it's kind of a double-edged sword. On the one side I sit back and say, well, at least I've won a major championship. I've proved to myself I can do it. Whatever happens, I'm going to be able to retire from the game saying that I've won a major, so that's fantastic.
And then on the other side, you know, you really want to be able to show that you're worthy of winning a major championship and you're worthy of having your name up with the greats of the game that came before us. So it's an interesting scenario, so you kind of bounce between the two.
You know, it's been a fantastic time. I've drawn a lot of confidence from that, but this is such an interesting game that loves to bring you down to earth in a hurry. You've got to make sure you stay patient and stay on course rather than get too far ahead of yourself. You've got to be able to rein yourself in and play one shot at a time.

Q. If you were to get to the end of the season and didn't have a sort of brilliant finish, you'd still look back on the season as a great season?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, I mean, I'd have to. Like I said, it's just an achievement that I've dreamed of my whole life. It's something that I'll be able to remember forever. You know, I've logged a lot of hours preparing for a moment like that, since I was five years old, trying to prepare for that. So for me to be able to pull that off and win The Masters is something -- you know, it's what I've always dreamed about in the game, and so, you know, that's something I'll take with me forever, regardless of how I play from here on out.

Q. Can you give us any examples out there of where you've had to play sort of driver, driver or something really unusual that you wouldn't normally because of this, because of the wind?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, sure. Well, you know, it's a very interesting golf course because you do hit a lot of long shots, especially with this breeze coming from the northwest, especially the 1st hole where you can't really take your driver so you have to lay up to the dogleg with a 2- or 3-iron and then you're looking at 4-iron into the green, so you've got two long shots to start. It's an incredible opening hole.
And then you work your way through, and you get to the par-4 dogleg to the right. I'm trying to think of the number now, 6? They're all tough so I don't know the numbers. Excuse me for that.
But 6 is -- that is just such a tough hole with this breeze because it kind of angles in and out the right, and on occasions you can't always take your driver because if it's straight out the right then there's a bunker out there at about 300 that your driver can run into so you've got to be very wary of that. And then when you take the 3-wood off the tee you're almost too far back. So you've got to play somewhat of a hold-up driver on occasion to keep it in the right area. Then yesterday I hit a driver and a 3-wood short of the green. So that's a pretty long hole. And that green is 40 yards long. So when they've got the flag at the back, you're really going to have to absolutely crunch two tee shots or you're going to have to make a good up-and-down to save your par.
I don't think I've played nine holes where you just have par-4s and par-3s, especially at a championship level. It's tough for a professional golfer not to get thrown a par-5 every now and then, because that's kind of where we make our living, to try and save shots and make up shots on the par-5. The front nine, you're just kind of grinding your teeth the whole way around there just trying to hang in.
And then like I said, you get holes like 8, 9, 10, where you're really just trying to play to the corner of the doglegs, stay out of the bunkers and play from there. 11 yesterday was a driver and a 4-iron to a front pin, so I mean, that's going to be a beast to that back right flag. There's not much green up there.
And then 12 is just an incredible par-3, you know, that you really have to control your trajectory and control the spin you're putting on the ball to hold it on the green.
Let me just think now. The hole that was pretty frightening yesterday was 16. It was just playing so difficult. You've got about a 210-yard carry to the fairway, and yesterday the ball into the wind was going somewhere between 40 and 45 yards shorter than normal, so that 210 is looking 250 and over. So you definitely don't want to be mis-hitting that tee shot because you won't be making the fairway there.
And then from there you've got like a 2-iron or a hybrid club or a 3-wood into that elevated green. So that was a pretty tough one yesterday.
But then you get 17 where it's a real tough tee shot, but if you manage to get that away, with these breezy conditions you're going to have a medium iron to that par-5. So you can get some relief there.
But like I said before, for me, this is the toughest Open Championship course that I've played.

Q. If the conditions stay as they are, do you think there's any chance that they might bring some of the tee boxes forward?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, you know, that's a very interesting question because I was looking for them yesterday but I couldn't find them. I couldn't find those tee boxes. It seems like with the new tees they've just found the right spot for it and put it there, and it's not very big. The teeing area is probably only between seven and ten yards long, so they don't have much room to move it back or forward; you're just on that tee.
On many of the holes, unless they go back to the old tees, which at times, 30, 40 yards ahead, there's not too much room there. So it's going to be kind of interesting to see the setup of the golf course. But the R & A has always done an incredible job on setting the course up so I'm sure they've done their homework.
If it gets much stronger, a hole like 16, it's going to be tough for most of the field to get to the fairway.

Q. Can you first of all give us a line on your thoughts on the 17th green? And secondly, you said earlier that you've learnt a lot about yourself since Augusta. Can you give us an example of what exactly you've learnt?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, the 17th green is -- it's different. It's different to the rest of the golf course. But I think it fits in well with that hole, because like I said, it seems like this is the prevailing wind this time of year, so you're going to play the hole -- it's going to be helping you more than hurting you, the wind direction. You're going to be able to reach the par-5s. I've never really had a problem with par-5s with tricky greens if you can reach it.
You know, I think there's some scope for some great pin positions on that green. There's a lot of little humps and hollows and the bunkers fit in well. So I think it sits nicely. The thing that's going to be great from an atmosphere point of view is the fact that the greens are set down in the dunes on many occasions so the spectators are really going to be able to gather round and have a good look, and that's definitely one of those spots. I think that's going to be good.
And then there's been just a lot of different things that I've touched on earlier. You know, it's interesting for a child who just grew up with golf on -- I mean, I just had golf on my mind 24/7 from the age of about five, and that was the only really thing that I -- it just consumed me. All I ever wanted to do was just win major championships.
You know, as I said earlier, with this game, this game, you can never get too confident because it always just brings you back down. So you go through all sorts of different scenarios of feeling good about your game and then not feeling good about your game and not achieving what you think you can achieve for the amount of work that you put in. But you still keep your eyes sort of focused on the goal of somehow winning a major championship.
And then there's lots of times where you wonder if that'll ever happen. And after what happened with me at the end of last year going through all the surgery and all that type of stuff where you -- at times I was -- well, it wasn't quite that dramatic, but when I first got diagnosed with, man, we're going to have to go in and take this tumor out, you think to yourself, man, maybe I won't be able to play another major championship, so maybe that was it for me. Maybe my opportunity passed. And then for me to go ahead and win the next major that I played in and achieve that lifelong dream after everything that I had been through was just, like -- I mean, it was totally overwhelming for me.
I would say mentally I kind of went AWOL for a couple months just trying to figure all of that out, just how crazy the last sort of six or eight months had been for me. So I think that was -- at that point I started really getting things in perspective and starting to kind of get a new picture on certain things. I seem to be quite a complex character. I have a lot of issues (laughter).

Q. If you were a spectator looking for fun and games tomorrow and the weather is as it is now, where would you put yourself?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, somewhere between the 1st and the 18th (laughter). I mean, like I said, this golf course is going to give you everything you want. Every single hole has just got a challenging shot.
Even like the 5th hole, I got this mixed up earlier. The 6th is that long one to the right, and then 5 is a short little probably 320- or 330-yard dogleg right, but it's just such an interesting hole because the tee shot, there's no bunkers, it's just fairway and then the rough, and you're only hitting like a 2-, 3- or 4-iron off the tee, but the angle of the fairway is so tricky that it's actually difficult to hit that fairway. So even like one of the easier holes, you really have to be paying attention because if you don't get that tee shot right, you've got some bunkers in front of the green, you won't be able to get the ball on the green and you might walk away with bogey where that's supposedly one of the easier holes.
This course just poses so many interesting challenges that you could really just park yourself out anywhere and see some really interesting golf. You know, like I said earlier, especially with the way the greens are set, you could really set yourself down and watch some incredible golf. It's going to be awesome.

Q. I just wondered if you travel with the green jacket.
TREVOR IMMELMAN: No, I don't. To be honest with you, I haven't worn it that much. It sits in my closet and I see it every morning. You know, at times it's still hard to believe. But I don't travel with it. You know, it seems to -- it comes out whenever friends and family come around to the house who haven't seen it, and they kind of have a look at it. So I haven't traveled with it or anything like that. Wouldn't want to lose it; I'd get in trouble (laughter).
MALCOLM BOOTH: Trevor, thank you very much for joining us.

End of FastScripts

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297